April 23, 2001

Subject: Our Lady
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 12:36:33 EDT
From: ERome1@aol.com
To: jice@moifa.org
CC: almalopez@earthlink.net

Dear Dr. Ice,

I'm writing in support of Alma Lopez's Our Lady/Eve, which you are displaying at your museum. I am a Chicana playwright who has a
full-length play, THE FAT-FREE CHICANA AND THE SNOW CAP QUEEN, featured in the anthology PURO TEATRO, A LATINA ANTHOLOGY, University of Arizona Press. As you may know,
our award-winning book cover carries a slightly altered version of the image.

Before the book was published, our editor asked a number of us--all Latina playwrights--how we felt about the image. I, immediately, loved it. I thought it was a fun re-thinking of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I thought it was smart. The women involved in our book loved it. And, we're all Latinas. (I come from an old New Mexican family.)

Recently, while I was reading from the book at a women authors' event, involving a number of area high schools, I was informed that my book was not allowed in the school. The school had pulled my book because of the image.

It made me sad that the school was teaching the students to ignore me as a role model because of an image someone deemed defensive. (They were all students who wanted to become writers. Most of them were young Latinas.)

But young artists can't be nurtured in an environment of censorship. I've always been proud of the cover of our book.

So, I encourage your support of Alma Lopez. Remember, my family's been in New Mexico 500 years.

My Best,

Elaine Romero (Sánchez, Anton Chico)
Tucson, AZ


Subject: "Our Lady"
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 12:36:46 -0400
From: "Lydia Zendejas" <chicana_eagle@hotmail.com>
To: jice@moifa.org, TMNunn@moifa.org
CC: almalopez@earthlink.netDr. Ice and Dr. Nunn,

I am writing to support the work of Alma Lopez's art "Our Lady".  I understand it has been of great controversy most recently and understandably so.  If we didn't have this kind of opposition I would be a little worried.  The bigger picture is that Xicanas/Chicanas have come a long way in this society and in the Catholic society.  Xicanas have always had conflicted feelings about how to be a good mujer, especially when it comes to virginity and sexuality.  I applaud Alma's work and I will write a letter directly to the Musuem of New Mexico expressing this same support.
Power to mujeres!

Lydia Zendejas


Subject: Just an email of support
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 13:38:53 -0600
From: Daniel Butler <daniel_butler@cybermesa.com>
To: almalopez@earthlink.net

From: Daniel Butler, BFA, (sculptor)
          Santa Fe

I have read your statement about what you are trying to do with the work, "Our Lady".  As an artist, I find what you've done to be a valid statement.

Of course you shouldn't have to justify yourself to anyone, but there is this.  The 'scandal' has made a lot of people listen to your statement, and at least know about the experiences behind the work.  This is better in the long run than people just looking at it politely in the gallery, not understanding what it's about.

Including myself:  if it weren't for the controversy, I would have thought it was just a pretty picture.  The real meaning, now that I know where it comes form, is actually very moving, and makes me think.  I had no problem with the Catholic imagery, but I see now that it's about many culture's mixed treatment of women.

It's an important statement.

Good work,



Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 13:00:54 -0700
From: Consuela Zumwalt <czumwalt@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU>
To: almalopez@earthlink.net


I am told you also have other images of la virgen. are they too on the web some where accesible? I belong to a list and your art has been a BIG topic. I would love to see the other images you have created.

Continue speak your mind, heart ans share your experiences.




Subject: RE: [Fwd: The Body of the Sacred Feminine]
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 14:41:07 -0700
From: XNaileid@lockton.com
To: almalopez@earthlink.net

Ay, Alma....I'm worried about you. I received your e-news about "Our Lady".

Okay, don't get mad at me for saying this...billions of people throughout the world consider the virgin Mary a sacred thing. I'm indifferent to what you choose to paint and have always respected your expressions. However, If you keep "defacing" this particular image in any way, you're bound to get much attention for doing it and none of it will be positive. I went to the link to view what the big deal was about. While your
artwork did not bother or offend me in any way, I could see why so many people are upset. I've known you a long time and I know you are not purposely trying to yank some chains - you are simply depicting your opinions and ideas.

Or maybe you are trying to rattle a few cages to let people know that women are strong and beautiful. That in itself is an arguable point as women aren't nearly as put down as before. It may still be happening to a
certain extent, but even you have to admit it's not as bad as it was. I'm by no means saying I'm complacent with the treatment of women so please don't misunderstand my words. All I'm saying is that change takes time but no one can ignore the fact while women have a long way to go, they have already come very far.

Listen, I'm worried that one day your life may be in danger behind it. Alma, please take care of yourself. I may not see you as often as I would like and contact between us is far in between. Continue your work but please be careful...this world is funny about what they consider art and what they consider offensive and regrettably my definition or yours isn't what matters - it's the popular opinion based on societal views as well as religious diversity. I love you very much and just want you to be careful - there's a lot of psycho's out there. I hope you're not too mad at me for voicing what I think and thank you for listening.

On a totally different note, will you be attending Letty's graduation? It's set for Saturday, May 19th. I plan on being there. I will be bringing John with me (my future husband) and need to check with Mom to see if she can get away or not and if so, I'll take her with me and bring her back. Let me
know what your plans are for this event. Again, please remember that I love you very much and want you to be well.

Con carino, Ana.


Subject: Our Lady
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 17:58:41 -0400
From: "Raquel Gutierrez" <RaquelDG@communitycoachingnetwork.com>
Organization: Community Coaching Network
To: <almalopez@earthlink.net>
CC: <jice@moifa.org>, <TMNunn@moifa.org>

Thank you.  Thank you for representing La Virgen in full Grace, Dignity, and Glory.  Your image of Our Lady  awakens in me strength, focus, and self-respect through her gaze and stance.  Imagine, what could be possible if all women (and men) acknowledged and nurtured these qualities already inside each of us.

Muchas Gracias.  Raquel Gutierrez